With competition season fast approaching, the number one thing on many competitors’ minds is the thought of how they can crush their role-play in front of their judges. Unfortunately, there is no magical hack to make your presentations better but these tips should definitely help!
1. Prepare Early
Just like everyone in the world always says, the key to success is not to procrastinate. By starting your preparation as early as possible (maybe even right after you read this article), you’ll give yourself enough time to habituate with the format of prompts in your event so you’re not surprised on competition day. Run through the motions of reading the prompt and creating a mental roadmap of your presentation to make yourself increasingly efficient.
2. Shadow Industry Professionals
While book knowledge is important when it comes to knowing the correct terms and being able to explain concepts, being able to share real world examples will truly set you apart from your competitors. Every DECA event mirrors a real profession, so find someone with a job in the field you compete in and ask if you can have a moment of their time. A good idea is to email them a practice role-play ahead of time so they know what you’ll be talking about. Then, present your ideas and solutions and ask them what they would do differently and which extra details they would include.
No matter how much you study, nothing beats experience. I can almost guarantee that you’ll walk away having learned something if you choose to meet with an industry professional.
3. Sharpen Your Presentation Skills
Now that you have a solid grasp on your content, it’s time to work on your presentation skills. It’s easy to get caught up with your content and completely botch your speaking style which is arguably just as important.
When approaching your judge (virtually or in person), maintain confident posture and assume the role assigned to you at the very top of the role-play. If you’re told to assume the role of the General Manager at Chitrao Automotive, you better convince that judge of your true managerial potential.
Eye contact is another extremely important aspect of presenting. It may seem awkward at first, but you want to be looking into the judge’s eyes (or the webcam equivalent) as much as possible. A good way to practice this is by presenting to yourself in a mirror or asking a friend to sit in front of you and listen to what you’ve got to say.
Along with your eyes, your hands are just as essential to getting your point across. Try not to be too extravagant with your arm movements so it’s not distracting, but instead, use them to your advantage to direct the judge’s attention.
Follow these three tips and you’ll already be one step closer to maximizing your momentum and earning glass!